Leaders List interview: 60 seconds with Kai Yun Wong, Chia Wong Chambers

Date: 04 Apr 2023

Silvia Ricciardi

This week’s 60-second piece is dedicated to Kai Yun Wong, Chia Wong Chambers.

Kai Yun Wong, Chia Wong Chambers

Citywealth speaks to Kai Yun Wong, Chia Wong Chambers, a Singapore-based international family lawyer with a focus on cross-jurisdictional disputes and issues

Tell Citywealth’s readers about your role.

  • I am a Singapore-based international family lawyer with a focus on cross-jurisdictional disputes and issues. Almost all my matters involve foreign counsel, clients, and assets. I frequently act for high-net-worth individuals with special concerns over financial solutions and settlements. I also deal with estate and succession planning, structuring trusts and other mechanisms for wealth transfers and preservation.
  • As I often say when introduced, I am in the business of liberation!
  • I truly believe in the value of the life-changing work of family lawyers. When a relationship breaks down, family lawyers can focus the client on endings and closures, but also on new beginnings and possibilities.
  • In the spirit of paying it forward, I am the Co-Chairperson of the Family Law Practice Committee of the Law Society of Singapore (LSS), the Co-Chairperson of the Family Law and Children’s Rights Working Group of the Singapore Academy of Law (SAL), and the President-Elect of the Asia-Pacific Chapter of the International Academy of Family Lawyers (IAFL).

What are the most pressing issues you are dealing with in your role at the moment?

At the heart of all family disputes, even in cases involving millions and billions worth of assets, laden with cross-border complexities and multiple proceedings, is the people and relationships, and more importantly, the children caught in between, often without choice or voice.

Do you have any advice for trainees?

A smooth delivery, however polished, cannot make up for your giving bad advice. But when you are giving sound advice, being able to relate to your client means that your client is more likely to want to take that advice, and to follow that through.

How would your clients describe you?

I’m told that I’m a chilli padi! I guess that means that I’m pint-sized and potent.

What does it mean to you to be a member of Citywealth’s Leaders List?

I’m truly honoured to be awarded Gold for both the ‘International Inspirational Woman of the Year’ and the ‘International Woman of the Year for Professional Services’ at the Powerwomen Awards in March this year! I’m particularly pleased to share this honour with a number of other IAFL fellows who were awarded Gold at the Awards as well.

Best and worst parts of your job.

The worst part is that my clients often come to me only at the lowest points in their lives – their marriage is breaking down, parents wanting different things for their children and making them take sides against the other, their family is excluding them from the businesses or the assets, etc. The best part is when these same clients conclude their engagement with me having overcome, and moving on with the next chapter of their lives in a far better state than when they came.

What is the most valuable piece of advice you have been given?

The very same advice I pass on to others – You don’t know what you can do until you try. Just take one step at a time!

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